<Beckoning Cats at Gotokuji>
When Ii Naotaka, a nobleman of the Edo era (1603-1868) was returning from a falcon hunting expedition, he saw a beckoning cat at the gate of the Gotokuji temple (now in Tokyo’s Setagaya City), and stopped in for a rest. Just then, a huge thunderstorm began, and Ii, who was happy to have found shelter from the rain, is said to have made a generous donation to the temple. From this legend, the temple became associated with the beckoning cat. Actually, however, it was the Imado Shrine in Tokyo’s Taito Ward that seems to have begun selling cats as iconic figures. When the cat’s right paw is raised, it beckons money; if its left paw is raised, it is summoning people.